Critical mass for a change through movement is akin to oxygen for life. I am talking about a movement backed by public and not manipulated by agencies. A question is asked as to why a movement-based political change is not possible in Pakistan? 2014 is a typical example. Everyone expected a change. Over four months of sit-in did not materialise and failed to bring out public on the streets to a conclusive end. Reason? That movement relied on other options than relying on the required critical mass.
There are two prerequisites to substantiate a movement and bring a change in a society; first, moving public to the level of critical mass; second, emergence of leadership to lead the public. Public is amalgamation of individuals. Individuals make communities and communities make societies. It is the amalgamated individuals which make the public mindset or psyche that in turn transforms into inherent characteristics of a society. Thus each society has its own mindset or psyche based on the collective mindset of its public.
What is the mindset or psyche of Pakistani public? For millenniums, the public of Indian subcontinent have been living with slave mentality. Whether it was, Maharaja's or Raja's era, Moghul dynasties, or British Raj, our ancestors went through a continuous process of master-slave relationship. It was always, the 1% to 2% of the master rulers which ruled the rest of 99% to 98% of populace and treated them like slaves. As a result, the slave mentality was permeated in public character making it essential part of its psyche.
So today in 21st century, our public is still suffering from such mentality. But what about our rulers? It is pertinent to note that the ancestors of present rulers were not the masters. They actually were from the public lot. As a result, they have also inherited a slave mentality. In other words, there is no difference in the mindset or psyche of the rulers and the public of today. It is visible by the talks, body language and actions of a common man at a barber shop or of the top leader when he faces foreign dignitaries abroad.
In such a scenario, how could we expect a movement-based change in a society where rulers and the public suffer from slave mentality? It is in this context one should know the anatomy of a movement. For occurrence of a change through a movement, two types of critical masses are essential. First, critical mass for awareness, second, critical mass for action. Before coming to that, one may ask what is a critical mass? Critical mass is a percentage point at or beyond which, the change becomes inevitable and non-stoppable.
Accordingly, the required critical mass for awareness is 70% - 75%. Translating this percentage into the number of Pak population, it comes to as follows:
· 70 % population out of 180 million comes to 126 million.
· 75 % population comes to 135 million.
· It means that between 126 million to 135million people should be aware of the change before the first critical mass is achieved.
The question is, has the public cross these figures? After seeing the extensive electronic and social media coverage many would agree that 2014 Dharna was successful in reaching or even crossing the first critical mass. But, was it enough for a successful movement? Definitely No. As there were two other part of anatomy which needed completion; the second critical mass for action and the type of leadership.
The second critical mass depends on how many people will take action among the aware group. In terms of percentage it comes to 20% to 25% of the aware people. Translating it into number of population it comes to;
· 20 % of aware population of 126 million (based on 70% of total population) comes to 25 million.
· 25 % of aware population of 126 million (based on 70% of total population) comes to 31 million.
· 20% of aware population of 135 million (based on 75% of total population) comes to 27 million.
· 25% of aware population of 135 million (based on 75% of total population) comes to 33 million.
In a nutshell, we need 25 million to 31 million people based on 20% of aware people; and 27 million to 33 million people based on 25% of aware public, before the second part of critical mass is achieved making the real change possible.
Now, let us see the numbers of actionable in Dharnas in 2014. The maximum number reached at one time was 50,000. Otherwise according to different sources the numbers ranged from 5000 to 25000. Putting this into percentage it reads as follows:
· 50,000 (maximum) number comes to 0.25 % (based on 25 million), and 0.16 % (based on 31 million.).
· 25,000 (average) number comes to 0.01% (based on 25 million) and 0.08 % (based on 31 million)
· 5000 (minimum) number comes to 0.02% (based on 25 million), and 0.016 (based on 31 million)
One may object that critical mass is calculated on total population and the number in Dharna cannot be equated with percentage in critical mass. That is a fair objection. To be on the safe side, let us reduce the number in critical mass by 50%, bringing down the actionable population to 12.5 million from 25 million and 15.5 million from 31 million. In that case, it will read like this:
· 50,000 of gathered public comes to 0.4% (based on 12.5 million) and 0.32% (based on 15.5million)
· 25,000 of gathered public comes to 0.2%, based on (12.5 million) and 0.16% (based on 15.5 million)
· 5,000 of gathered public comes to 0.04%, based on (12.5 million) and 0.03% (based on 15.5 million).
Even if we reduce the number further by another 50%, the percentage will come to 0.8% for 50,000; 0.1% for 25,000, and 0.02% for 5,000. These numbers are still far behind the required number needed to reach even closer to the actionable critical mass. With this number, there was no chance for Dharna to succeed in its final aim.
The story doesn’t finish here. The third important portion of anatomy is the leadership. Dharna had this problem too. Effective movements are always led by one leader. Here, two leaders with different political and religious leanings, led the movement. It was bound to fail, and it did, in the end. The leadership, instead of understanding the true anatomy of a movement relied on a third power at wrong timing. Obviously, they wanted to replace the government and not bring a change in the system.
No wonder when it came to final push on August 28th the two leaders fell apart and the movement started to crumble and changed into evening entertainment and finally collapsed. People started to enjoy two types of entertainments. During days, they watched the naive political figures making point scoring in the longest joint session of the parliament. In the evenings, they enjoyed music and entertainment at Dharna.
Nawaz Sharif was ill advised on two counts; first to call for the joint session; second, asking the army chief to intervene. This took away the feather of statesmanship from his cap and made him look like a mediocre political leader in the eyes of the public. People started equating his politics with Asif Zardari’s in governance style. That was damaging personally as well as politically. After all, politics also demands some kind of principles. Working with him closely at Duke Street in London, he cannot be equated with AAZ. They are two different type of breed. His advisors should have informed him that the movement was not going to thrive despite a few generals wanted it to succeed. The critical mass was against it. His advisors should have known about the anatomy of revolutionary change and the role critical mass plays in that change. Because of that, today, MNS is playing at the back foot where as he could have been hitting sixes and fours on the front foot
About the Writer
Dr. Ghayur Ayub. FRCS, FCPS. belongs to Parachinar., Kurrum Agency, Pakistan and is a surgeon by profession ; a book publisher/writer/editor too !!
Before his retirement in Jan 2005, he had been served in the following capacities.
After retirement, he joined Mr. Nawaz Sharif in London and was appointed his Advisor on Health Affairs.
He also had published the following books
and currently editing the the book "Spirituality; A new dimension"
His forthcoming books are